If you don’t know how to kick start your affiliate marketing program, don’t worry! We will guide you through the process and that too step-by-step.
The Steps to Start a Perfect Affiliate Marketing Program are explained below:
Step 1: Optimize your Website for Running Affiliate Traffic
Check if your Website doesn’t have any Leaks and is Optimized for Launching an Affiliate Campaign. Leaks basically create opportunities for affiliate-referred traffic to be monetized without rewarding the affiliate. Leaks generally include:
- The phone number for taking Orders via Phone.
- Google AdSense or Other Ads for Monetizing Traffic
- Links to other websites & more
If the publisher is able to find any of the ones listed above they will either choose not to join the affiliate program or test to see if you create any efforts to track the phone, social media, and other similar types of referrals. Therefore, before starting to work on the affiliate marketing program launch, make sure you have an affiliate-pleasant landing page.
If you have any of the ones listed above on your website, either remove them or find a way to track them or Create a separate Landing Page for Affiliates.
Step 2 : Setting Right Payouts for Affiliates : Before you set any random Payout for your affiliate channel its good to check what is your average customer acquisition cost (CAC) from other Channels. For example, If you have a CAC or Rs. 500 from other Paid channels ( Google, Facebook, etc) you can initially start with 80% of that Value i.e. 400 as your Payout.
Setting Payout also depends on your Business Objectives and many other factors too. You can work with affiliates on Various pricing Models like CPA, CPL, CPI, etc.
You can check this article for more details on Affiliate pricing Models: https://www.affoy.com/advertisers/pricing-models/
Step 3: Do Competitive Analysis of Affiliate Programs of Competitors and Create a Better Affiliate Campaign
In today’s digital world over 90% of the merchant’s route to the affiliate programs to promote their products and services. Hence you can assume that many of your competitors do the same.
The affiliates who are acquiring customers for your Competitors can also Acquire customers for you. They already have experience in running campaigns in your Niche.
This clearly means that you will be contending for the same affiliates and you need to come up with either a similar or preferably a better offer. For that, you must have precise knowledge about what your competitors are offering in the market. You don’t have to do much to find out your competitor’s offer. You can:
- Simply do a quick Google search for “[competitor name] affiliate program” will give you enough data if your competitor is running an In-house affiliate Program.
- Also don’t forget to check their websites for links to their affiliate program page.
There are few aspects listed below to consider for Your Own Affiliate Program Launch.
Type of Platform: Are your competitors running their affiliate marketing program via an affiliate network or in-house? What network? What affiliate tracking software have they chosen?
Program specifics: What commissions are your competitors paying: revshare (%) or a flat payout? Do they offer any type of bonuses? Do they offer commission increases based on performance? What is their cookie time period? What is their average order? What is their commission amount?
Creatives: How many creatives do your competitors make available? What type of creative: banners, text links, coupons, videos, data feeds?
Tip: Text Links generally get maximum Number of sales.
Program Contract: Do your affiliates allow Pay per click (PPC) advertising on branded keywords or only on generic keywords? What type of Affiliates or Traffic sources do they allow and what they don’t allow.
Do they have a different type of Payouts for different affiliates? For example A high Payout for Networks as compared to direct affiliates, or a Payout with Performace slabs, etc.
IMP : You need not copy what your competitor is doing however you need this data to create a better affiliate Program. And you can’t offer better than your competitors’ if you don’t have any idea about what they are offering. These details listed above will not be available straight, so in that case, you may have to create a publisher account and join your competitors’ affiliate program. It will be worth it, as you’ll have to make decisions related to all of the above and implement them for the launch of your own affiliate marketing program.
Step 4: Create a Committed Email Address
A dedicated email address helps you when creating an Affiliate Program. Set it up as firstname.lastname@example.org or Partner@yourdomain.com. ( In order to avoid having your messages end up in the receiver’s spam folder, kindly use your name or that of the person who will be managing your affiliate program as a sender’s name.). If you are setting up an affiliate campaign with an Affiliate Network, it is not required.
Step 5: Choose the Right Platform
In principle, you can either choose an affiliate marketing network like Affoy or choose to run your affiliate program in-house. However, if it is your first affiliate program, I recommend you to join an affiliate network. It will be easier, inexpensive, and support is available in case you get stuck.
You can also set up your own affiliate program in-house. For setting up an Inhouse affiliate campaign you need a Tracking Platform and a dedicated affiliate manager who can recruit and onboard affiliates and a Payment system to Pay Affiliate. Popular tracking systems that you can use are Tune ( hasoffers ), Cake, and Affise.
Costing of a tracking platform stars from 300 USD ( approx INR 22,000 ) and you can hire an experienced affiliate Manager in India at a starting salary of approx INR 30,000. Therefore the minimum monthly cost of setting up an Inhouse affiliate campaign is INR 50000 + Overheads.
On the other hand, if you choose to go via an Affiliate network you don’t have to pay for Tracking software and Affiliate Manager. They deduct approx 15%-30% from Campaign commissions and Pass rest to affiliates. Example: if you are paying a network 200 Rs per sale , end affiliate will get approx 160 Rs in commission. For a cost of 40 rs per sale, the Affiliate network will provide you with all required services i.e. campaign setup, Tracking, Affiliate recruitment & management, Payments to affiliates.
However, if you want more control and less hassle, some networks provide services of setting up your Inhouse campaign and managing it. Where they will take care of all setup and day to day management. In India, you can reach Affoy for such services.
Step 6 : Choose Appropriate Program Details
In order for your affiliate program launch to be successful, you need to come up with a more attractive offer than that of your network competitors. The points listed below will help you in doing so :
- Standard Commission Pricing Model ( CPA, CPL, CPI, etc depending on your Requirements)
- Performance-Based Tiers ( Optional )
- First Sale(s) Bonus ( ( Optional )
- Commission Structure for Potential Affiliates
- Other Incentives
- Cookie Life
Do your math carefully and make sure you take into consideration all aspects and even leave room for some commission increases.
Step 7. Create a Program Agreement and TnC Documentation
Without a sound affiliate program agreement in place, you let your affiliates play with your program which might result in losing money and having your brand reputation ruined. Just remember to clearly regulate paid search campaigns and coupon promotions. Also, prohibit activities that do not add any value to the program. For example its always a good strategy to don’t allow affiliates to Bid on Brand Terms but excluding Brand + coupon Keywords.
Step 8: Setting a Campaign with Affiliate Network: Create Your Merchant Account, Set Up Your Program, and Setup Tracking
Each network has its rules and guidelines but, in the end, it is all about filling in your information and adjusting some settings for which all networks offer support to merchants.
The most important part of this step is executing tracking. In most cases, it means placing a tracking pixel or code sequence on your website’s Thank You Page. While the affiliate network tracks click following the unique URL assigned to each affiliate, the tracking pixel reports the conversion. It basically declares the affiliate network to attribute the agreed commission to the affiliate who drove the sale. Perform a test transaction when you’re done.
Step 9: Create and Upload Your Creatives
In terms of affiliate marketing program creative, banners and links are a must. Depending on the type of products and services you offer, coupons, promo codes, a data feed may be required as well. The network will provide you with the resources to create the links and will share with you details of other creatives required.
Step 10: Upload Your Affiliate Communications
Your affiliate program will also need a description namely a presentation of you, as the merchant, and of your program details. Keep it short. Try to focus on what sets you apart from other merchants and how affiliates will enjoy benefits by promoting you.
Before receiving affiliate applications, it is also advisable to have email auto-responders set up for affiliate applications.
Step 11: Manage Your Program, Do Not Put It on Autopilot!
Most of the affiliate networks do their best to simplify and automate operations for their merchants. If you browse through your account’s settings, you will notice options to automatically approve or decline affiliates based on various filters. Never choose such options, as they could prove dangerous. The best way is to ask your affiliate manager to review every application before accepting it into the system.
Drop a Line to us at email@example.com, to learn more about our services. With Affoy you can Run your campaign on our Network or Hire us to Manage/Create your Inhouse Affiliate Marketing Campaign.